Fly weight vs Line weight question - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-27-2013, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Fly weight vs Line weight question

I must preface this question by mentioning that I did a search for this topic, but could not find anything relevant. If I missed a previous discussion, please point me in the right direction.

I am looking for some sort of correlation between the weight of the fly to be cast and the weight of the fly line. Now, I understand that the same rod that casts a 510 Scandi may require a different weight Skagit, and certainly will require a different weight mid-belly. But it seems to me that with all of the expertise on this Forum, someone must have figured out the optimum weight range for a fly, based on line weight, more scientifically than "that fly is too heavy for that line".

My purpose in asking this is that my casting ability is not so good that I can discern whether the problems I have are due to a fly that is too heavy for the line, or simply bad technique. I have taken lessons, and find myself improving after every lesson, however, for those times when I don't having a casting guru at my elbow, it would be nice to start out with a rod/line/tip/fly system in relative balance.

Thanks in advance!

Jim

I can't understand why some folks think a drink can is harder to carry out when it is empty than it was to carry in when it was full.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-27-2013, 02:15 PM
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Just personal observation here Jim, but for me the 'head weight' (eg: mass in grains) has a hell of a lot to do with the size of the fly. Rod weight also comes into play, but it takes 'grains' to chuck a heavy fly. If the flies wet, this becomes more 'important' as non-syntetic materials absorb water so the fly gets even more heavy/wind resistant.

Personal observation here only as I rarely need more than a 6wt 2hander here on the upper Rogue, but a lightly weighted fly is all I ever use. The reason is (more often than not) the water will be 'low and clear' most of the year unless there's a hell of a water dump coming out of the Wm. Jess Dam just above the Hatchery.

The second 'issue' is the bigger the fly, the heavier/stiffer the leader needs to be to accomplish the 'transfer of energy' from the fly line down the leader to the fly. Think Maxima Ultra Green vs. a hair thin Fluorocarbon of the same breaking strength.

This fishing game is just a bunch of frinkin choices....




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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-27-2013, 02:45 PM
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I don't have anything scientific datawise, but the taper/weight distribution of the head/line has a lot to do with it too. For example, in the winter, I'm able to cast up to 5/0 Winter's Hopes (19-20grain hook weight) and marabou intruders with med lead eyes with a 7wt Ambush line on my single hand glass rods, the head is 265gr/20'. I think the concentrated weight in a short taper allows these lines to toss more weight bulk than a typical, longer tapered line.

Todd
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-27-2013, 11:30 PM
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I agree: It takes both grains (fae) and taper (Todd.)

I've never actually weighed any fly, but I know I can cast all but the heaviest and largest patterns (large tungsten dumbel-eyes and over 5" long (very rarely)) with a short compact head anywhere between the Ambush #7 on a #7 single-hander up to a 510 skagit comp on a 7/8 2HD'er.

From there I rely on tips or sinking leaders and occasionally on brass beads and long leaders to gain depth when casting anything beyond a compact-head.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-28-2013, 08:25 PM
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I don't know of any formula. Finding out what can handle heavy flies seems to be trial-and-error, learning from other anglers, streamside, and here on Spey Pages. Recently, I tried a new combination of lines and heavier sinking tip than I normally use, and found that I could cast just about anything with my Decho 7130. (Back in the Old Testament days, I used 10-weight single hand rods for lead-weighted winter steelhead rods.) I noticed that spey rods introduced this last year for chinook salmon are mostly nine-weights. So unless you're hunting for 60-pounders in the Alta River, is there really any need these days for 10/11 and heavier spey rods and lines?
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 01:26 AM
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Hi Jim,

I can tell you one thing that is for sure, a weighted fly be it dumbbell eyes, cone head or other will bust a rod tip or other section if you make a mistake. I do not use weighted flies but some patterns when wet can be quite heavy. My very best advice is that if you want to fish 'flies' with a spey rod, stay within the realm of the traditional patterns and leave the tossing of large and weighted lures to those using appropriate tackle for it. Few things in fly fishing can equal the relaxed pace of casting and swinging traditional unweighted flies.

That will sound harsh to some but I see this style of fishing moving farther and farther away from why I began doing it. The heads become shorter and the flies larger and heavier every year. To each their own but I began with long belly lines and salmon flies and still stubbornly use them.

Just a little preaching, please don't take offense.

Kill the hens you kill the river, A Message For Alaskans
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 03:29 AM
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Can't disagree with Ard's post above but there are ways to throw heavy stuff, and there are ways to sink without adding weight. It's in velocity, more speed more mommentum. I don't have any trouble throwing 5/0 partridge M's with a 7/8 delta floating or sink-tipped line. You just have to use more energy to increase line speed, the shorter the head the easier it gets. Fishing deep doesn't require weighted flies...

Last edited by klickrolf; 05-07-2013 at 12:40 AM.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 10:14 AM
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With my 6/7 Scandi line, Rio told me I can cast flies up to size 6. With a 6/7 Skagit line I can cast flies up to size 2.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
My purpose in asking this is that my casting ability is not so good that I can discern whether the problems I have are due to a fly that is too heavy for the line, or simply bad technique.
Why not just start on the small side and work up?

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How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 11:50 AM
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Why not just start on the small side and work up?
Dead on Mike, dead on!

"Horses for Courses" as the Brit's would say. Here on the upper Rogue a fly on a size 4 hook would be 'big.' Personally, its rare that I even chuck a size six. No need.




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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Why not just start on the small side and work up?
Great suggestion, as always.

The reason I am asking the question, aside from what I stated previously, is that my opportunity for on-river experimentation is rather limited, so I am working to reduce the variables to a moderately confusing minimum. I figured that knowing an optimum weight range for flies, based on the line weight would eliminate, or at least limit, one more variable.

Jim

(and thanks to all who have provided some great answers so far)

I can't understand why some folks think a drink can is harder to carry out when it is empty than it was to carry in when it was full.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 06:24 PM
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I would call the folks at Rio. They're very helpful.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 07:07 PM
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The optimum weight of fly you can cast will be very subjective based on one's ability, tackle, outside conditions, and maybe location. It will certainly not be the same for every angler.

Hook size really isn't really a good criteria either as both flies pictured below can have the same hook size.

I would just pick something that I knew I could handle and then go up from there as time on the water permitted.
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How you get the line out and fishing is personal preference so as long as it works and is easy no one should care but the caster. MSB
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 10:01 PM
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skill level...

you can't cast, stay small and learn..

when you can cast size won't matter anymore...

simple really!

Ard, that's a great post you put up...very cool my friend..
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-29-2013, 11:53 PM
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Weighted flies

I use weighted flies or heavy hooks quite a bit. Not super heavy.
My philosophy is that if im fishing subsurface a few feet, I want the fly to get there quickly after it hits the water. I also want to avoid a line profile where the polyleader or t-material is deeper than the fly for the first part of the swing.
It's all personal choice. For me, using a normal #4 bead head fly with a 5 foot tippet and 12 feet of fast polyleader is pretty easy and relaxing to cast on a 7wt with a scandi line. It's not a dredging rig. As I want to go deeper on a given run, I might go with a heavier fly or replace the polyleader with t-8 or smilar. These both make it harder to cast. Even a good cast is more clunky less graceful. Your timing needs to be spot on once you start pushing the limits of your equipment. Fun will diminish at some point.
The advise given to start small and work your way up is good. Trying to work with heavier stuff will test and hone your casting abilities.

have fun jp
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